Originally Posted by E277
All true Viva. Some of your points reflect my assumptions; however, I do like the wet bath on board (or think I would like one). Has that been a welcome addition or is the added maintenance of the black tanks a hassle?
I probably don't have the typical reaction to it all because I'm used to "primitive" facilities on boats, kayak trips, etc. (course SMB folks probably lean similarly!), but here are my thoughts:
1) The black tank part is fantastic.
--The first best thing is that the tank drains (grey and black actually both join up and use the same drain) are on the correct side! I was always driving the wrong way into dump stations with my '97 SMB (because the grey tank drain was on the "wrong" side as compared to the standard).
--Second, I find pulling up to a dump station, donning a pair of gloves, and draining the tanks (plus they have rinse hose there usually) to be fantastically easy.
--Third, the capacity is more than a Porta Potti (15 gallons black).
I have a Porta Potti on my boat, and it's not bad, but I'd rather dump the black tank than lug the Porta Potti. Either way has plusses and minuses though. Sometimes you can find a place to dump a Porta Potti but not a black tank, and vice-versa.
2) Having a "room" for the toilet is not that big a thing for me. I'd just as soon have more storage and slide the potti out into the aisle to use it (but of course that would somewhat preclude the black tank). I can see some people really liking that room/door though. Also, I'm traveling solo right now, but with another person it would be more of an advantage.
3) The wet/shower... I haven't actually used it yet! I guess I got used to not showering "indoors" on boats, and so far I'd rather either shower outside or at a campground or marina or etc. than get all clean and then squeegee/clean/wipe down the shower walls. BUT, I could see changing my tune on this in colder weather away from other showers.
4) The bathroom sink: A handy receptacle out of which things don't fall when driving (I tend to use the main sink).
So as you can tell, in a way the "room" is somewhat wasted on me at the moment. OTOH, having the black tank is great/handy. Also, because there is a shower (and because they had the space), the freshwater tank is much larger than my SMB (I think it was 8 gallons, this tank is 30 gallons), and the grey tank is comparable (not sure what the SMB was.... 10 gallons? Now I have 30). This gives me the capacity to stay out somewhere for two weeks if I want to which is sort of my max benchmark (that time period works well since a lot of public land has 14-day limit and by then I'm typically ready to move on/re-stock/etc. anyway).
It's funny about the rear door. In established campsites, it sort of feels wrong, because they are always geared toward a passenger side door. On the other hand, boondocking (which I prefer), it shouldn't really matter, but maybe it's a matter of habit. The van side doors certainly blur the lines between outside and inside better (much better). That is great when at a nice boondocking spot - the classic sort of place the "50" floorplan rocks. On the other hand, if traveling (and maybe at a rest area or a less wonderful camping spot) the separation can be nice for privacy; your living room isn't open to the world. A full life can be lived without going outside, which is nice for those less private spots or rainy days. There are big windows, so there is a great view. And the rear door makes for an efficient floorplan. On balance, I still miss the side door though. But like you say, all rigs have their plusses and minuses, and I have some things in this rig I didn't have before (outside storage bins, more space, chairs, bathroom, etc.).
The main thing for me with the SMB was the poptop. It was hard for me to pop, and as magical as it is, didn't really suit my purposes. I did consider changing my SMB over to a fixed top; if it had been an EB I probably would have. And an EB/Voyager top/gas engine/clean rig? I don't think I'd try too hard to resist that